Friday, September 30, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #11

#11 - KG's Redemption

"This ain't golf, this ain't tennis. It ain't about me. It's about us. It ain't about nothing else I'm doing. I'm just one of the pieces. It ain't about what I'm doing, if what I'm doing ain't enough to get us wins."

"I do give a lot man, I give two cent. Cuz I got to. I came out the womb, that's how I am. I'm built like this. You don't play ball cuz you got to, you don't run sprints cuz you got to. I don't have to go into the gym and put up extra shots because I got to. I ain't got to do that. This is how I'm built. This is me. This is how I'm built. It's me."

"I just don't like to lose. If we sat here playing dominoes, playing cards, running back and forth and you kept beating me--whatever we were doing. I hate to lose, I hate to lose. I don't care what it is, that's my biggest problem. I can't accept losing and I won't ever accept losing. Ever. No one will ever be able to call me a loser to my face and stand there. You know? Never. Never."

-- From Kevin Garnett's sit-down interview with John Thompson during All-Star Weekend.

Minnesota was 27-27 when this interview took place, a far cry from where many experts predicted the Timberwolves to be at the All-Star Break. Garnett was averaging a 'modest' 22.1 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.4 BPG. And here KG was, literally weeping to the NBA's resident Grandfather, 'Big' John Thompson, in front of a national television audience. It wasn't a Kobe act, where you question the sincerity behind every single word and emotion coming from him. KG was for real. This guy just couldn't come to grips with mediocrity, especially not after he had a taste of high society the year before. Can you blame him? Garnett pours everything into his play, each and every time he steps foot on the hardwood. If you want to know what it truly means to be passionate about the game of basketball, just watch a Timberwolves game. In October, January, April-- it doesn't matter, just spot out #21.

I want to make this clear-- when I say 'KG's redemption', I'm not talking about him increasing his averages or suggesting a return to the annual MVP discussion because that's not what he's about. Garnett is the epitome of a player who genuinely puts the team before himself. The second biggest knock on him throughout his career has been that he's often times too unselfish. As if continually sacrificing personal accolades and always trying to make your teammates better is a bad thing. The obvious and most repeated criticism of KG has been his inability to lead Minnesota out of the first round of the Playoffs more than once in his career. So naturally, a redemption for Garnett would not merely be a return to the Playoffs for the Timberwolves, but rather a trip to the NBA's Elite 8 and beyond.

Since most experts are predicting Minnesota will miss the cut for the Playoffs entirely, it could very well take an MVP-like season from their star to even get there. If you're seriously doubting that KG is about to have his best season ever, you're just plain wrong. There, I said it. There isn't a guy out there who's playing for more than Garnett this season, not even AI. You think that has anything to do with why KG enjoyed his summer running up and down the beaches of Malibu as a way to build strength in the sore knees that bothered him all of last season? Or why he spent countless hours in the weight room, adding an extra 15 lbs of muscle to his lanky frame so he can play more in the post this year for the betterment of the team? He wants it. He's ready. LET'S GO KG!


At 2:01 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Loved the article Paul. I just wanted to chime in and make everyone aware of something. Paul and I usually don't converse before we cover a topic. If we do, we discuss the parameters and that's it. His opinions are totally separate from mine, always have been, always will be. But notice how he can't help be mention KG and AI and how hard they play?

"There isn't a guy out there who's playing for more than Garnett this season, not even AI"

They are the two most passionate players of our era. They play they balls off every night no matter the circumstances. They own the competitive fire others dream about having. From what is written here, it seems like Paul agrees. I hate to harp on certain subjects, but it really boggles my mind that some people questioned the competitive fire of both of these players last week. I'm losing sleep over it.

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

You guys are awesome. I was waiting for something about KG in your top 30 stories. I was very pleased when I saw 'KG's Redemption' this morning. Very well written and very true... if his knees stay strong, I have a feeling that the high flying, vicious, in-your-face game that made Da Kid famous will be back. I don't know how good the Wolves will be, but I can gurantee KG's not going to let them go quietly.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

Hey Anthony...

Who are these guys that questioned KG and AI, and where was this done? I'd like to read it for some comic relief, because they seriously must be joking.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Ry, Go back to one of the 30 reasons when I discussed the emergence of Amare. I believe it was from Friday the 23rd. I'd look it up but it's Friday.

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous afroninja said...

i couldn't agree more with this article. i don't think kg gets enough cred for sticking it out like a man and playing through the season. sure he cried, but everyone gets emotional when your team completely quits on you and the only one's who have your back are fred hoiberg and mark madsen. but think about how easy it would've been to leave or demand getting traded. like pull a t-mac. but no, kg sticks it out like a man. that's why he gets way mroe cred in my book than most players

At 6:18 PM, Blogger The Cavalier said...

I love KG, but they just don't have the pieces up there this year.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's tragic to see one of the signature athletes of our era lose his importance because his team is mired in mediocrity. Their roster is even worse this year than last. Bracey Wright? Rashad McCants? Dear Lord.

The T-Wolves have had awful management and I hope - even being a fan of a rival team - that McHale gets shown the door after this season. There is no excuse for wasting the prime years of an exceptional talent.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad and I have a phrase we use to describe players like AI, Derek Jeter, and every single hockey player in the world: "I'd take them on my SWIM team." The kind of guys you'd want on any competitive team who would probably give any part of their body/soul for a single shot at winning. They're my favorite kind of players, the one's that play hurt, play tough, and don't give a shit about their well-being as soon as they step on the court, ice, or between the lines. Kevin Garnett is an absolute menace. I'd take Kevin Garnett on my SWIM team.


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